- It was my 1st Christmas married to Jonathan. Thanks to Mom and Don for our "1st Christmas" ornament! We have been married for 170 days today! We love being married, but most importantly we love being married to each other! We each had many lonely Christmases in the past. We weren't lonely this year and for that we are both very thankful! Jonathan's Dad told us yesterday that we are a "Match Made in Heaven". He's right! This kind of match could be nothing other than something orchestrated by the Creator of Love, God Himself.
- We have started our own Family Christmas traditions. We love our families of origin and our extended family and we love to celebrate with them, but what was extra special about this year is that we started our own family traditions. It's hard to start your own Christmas traditions as a single person, because your family of origin is your only family. We may not have children, but we do have our little family. We both agreed it was important to starts those traditions for our 1st married Christmas, because they get harder to change as the years pass. It is important to us to see family, so this year we saw family on Christmas Eve and then Christmas Day was just us. Our tradition is that we will spend 1 day with family and 1 day with just us. I will touch on why this is important for me this time of year when I get to reason # 5.
- We both put a lot of thought and effort into purchasing gifts for each other. Last year we both asked each other what we wanted for Christmas, but we didn't really know, and neither of us ended up purchasing gifts for the other. I didn't realize that "Gifts" was one of my top love languages until I didn't get anything from Jonathan. This year, we both put a lof of effort into it, and the effort paid off. It's not about the money spent, but rather about the effort put into making the other person feel special. We were both successful at that this year! It's fun to be someone's top priority when it comes to gift giving!
- We have been blessed and therefore were able to bless others this Christmas. Last year we started a tradition of helping those in need. and sponsored a family at the local homeless shelter. This year my Small Group sponsored a family where a set of Grandparents are raising their 8 Grandchildren. I got tired just reading their ages. Jonathan and I contributed to making this family's Christmas more special. That's a good feeling! We were also able to bless our nieces/nephews, parents, etc with gifts. For many years as a single person money was tight and on top of that I wasn't managing my money as well as we are now. I was often unable to give presents to family. It feels good to be a blessing to others and we are thankful for how blessed we are! We have no wedding to pay for and we have 1 rent instead of 2. We are also down to 1 student loan and 1 car payment! All of these things sure make a huge difference!
- My SAD is much more controlled this year. December has been a hard month for me for as long as I can remember but especially since 12/8/1999 when my Dad passed away. SAD is Seasonal Affective Disorder which is also known as Winter Depression. The symptoms start in early Fall and end when Spring begins. Some of the symptoms include a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating on or completing tasks, and withdrawal from friends, family, social activities, and lack of interest in activities you typically enjoy during the spring/summer months. For these reasons, Christmas isn't one of my favorite Holidays. I am thankful to God for sending us our most important Gift of His Son Jesus! However, Easter is my favorite Holiday because of the comfort of the Resurrection. This Christmas has been my best Christmas Ever, and here are the reasons why: This year I have the stability/security of being married, I have been walking, I am on medicine that is controlling the depression/anxiety quite well. Typically I cry a lot this time of year and withdraw from social activities because I just want to hibernate and be alone. I'm happy to say I haven't really cried at all this year. I wish Christmas was in July, because then I would spend more time with my family of origin/extended family. I still get stressed easily and this is another reason why Jonathan and I decided to start our tradition of spending either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day alone. Many love all of the hustle and bustle of seeing so many family members in a 2 day time frame. In the Summer, I wouldn't give it a 2nd thought. I love spending time with friend's and family! However, in the winter, I often lack the energy to do so and it's hard to be around groups of people when I'm not feeling very well.
Jen (& Jonathan)